German-Russian Co-Production Pact Finally Signed

After more than a decade of negotiations, the agreement should boost cross-border projects between the two countries.

COLOGNE, Germany - After more than a decade of discussions and negotiations, a co-production agreement between the German and Russian film industries was finally signed into law this week by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Russian Culture Minister Alexander Avdeev. The pact, similar to the cross-boarder deal Germany already has with France, should make it easier for producers to set up German-Russian co-productions and access funding in both territories.

Even without the agreement, there has been no shortage of German-Russian features. Statistics by the Russian Cinema Fund indicate that Germany was the most popular foreign partner for Russian producers, with 11 German-Russian co-productions made between 2006-2010.

Recent examples include the Oscar-nominated Mongol and The Last Station. World War II Drama 4 Days in May from German director Achim von Borries, which will premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival, is another German-Russia co-pro between Berlin's X Filme and Moscow-based ZAO Studio FAF.